Human rights defenders are doubling down on their support for a High Court judge’s tack on spot fines, amid aggressive pushback by police dismissing Justice Francis Bere’s expression as personal views and not legally binding.
In a statement late Tuesday, police spokesman Paul Nyathi said motorists should ignore Bere’s statements that police were acting illegally by forcing drivers to pay spot fines and not giving them a ticket which they could contest in court if they so wished.
In a strongly-worded statement, Nyathi said, “Bere’s statement is not binding on police operations. We encourage the public to continue cooperating with the police on all activities to ensure the smooth delivery of justice.”
Government spokesman Jonathan Moyo also took aim at the judge saying he was “making a very serious personal pronouncement that had the false ring of a court ruling.”
Bere got the nation talking on Monday during an official opening of the High Court when he said “there is no law which compels a motorist to deposit a fine with the police if he desires to challenge the alleged offence. But it looks like the motorists are being forced to pay these fines on our public roads irrespective of their attitude to the charges.”
Human rights lawyer Arnold Tsunga agreed with Justice Bere’s views.